Cyclists peddle ideas during tour

Local transportation planners and bicyclists strapped on their helmets and pedaled around Grand Junction on Sunday afternoon so they could see how local roads and trails can be enhanced for two-wheelers as part of a Mesa County comprehensive transportation plan.

About 15 people participated in the two-hour tour, which included stops at the Colorado Riverfront Trail parking area in Riverside and the Junior Service League Park off Redlands Parkway. The ride ended at Pablo’s Pizza in downtown Grand Junction, where cyclists spread maps across tables and highlighted the areas that need improvement.

“What I heard is this is an area with wonderful cycling capabilities” but needs to take steps to make bicycling safer and more efficient, said Barbara Lewis, president of Catalyst Inc., a Denver-based company that specializes in public involvement and facilitation and was retained by the county to help develop the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan.

The plan, which is scheduled to be completed in December, will help chart future transportation improvements in the county. Last week, motorcyclists offered their input on the plan during a ride. Bicyclists got their turn Sunday.

Lewis said cyclists told her the connections between the Riverfront Trail and major roadways aren’t safe enough, and that well-traveled east-west corridors such as North and Orchard avenues need bicycle crossings. Others said simple measures such as striping would go a long way toward enhancing the bicycle network.

“It’s helpful to study from the seat of a bicycle rather than looking at a map,” she said.

During warm weather, Jocelyn Mullen frequently bikes nearly eight miles from her Redlands home to work downtown. She said the route between the Redlands and the downtown area is lacking in safety for bicyclists in several places.

“People live in western Colorado to be healthy. We shouldn’t inhibit that in how we build our roads and transportation,” said Mullen, president of Grand Valley Bikes, a group working toward improving non-motorized transportation in the valley.

People who want to share their ideas and priorities for projects to improve streets are invited to workshops from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Fellowship Church, 765 24 Road.


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